Xojo 2022r1 TCO
4 min read
Unfortunately, occasional price changes are unavoidable. Ultimately, inflation is a reason for price changes, because otherwise, companies will have less net income over time and this with rising costs (salaries, rents, electricity consumption, etc.).
There is never a right time for price changes. They are annoying but at best explainable and a pure decision of the company, which then has to bear all the consequences. As long as the company does not have a monopoly position, e.g. energy companies often have, the impact of regulation on the market will be carefully considered in advance.
As a consumer, I like percentage increases that reflect inflation the most because they make sense. But if the price structure of products also changes at the same time as the price change, then you have to ask yourself what the company is up to.
In the case of Xojo, the entry price in particular is changing disproportionately and this is probably rather bad news for a desirable further spread and popularity, which is a must in times of numerous open-source and free alternatives. Of course, every company is free to make its own decisions, but so are consumers.
What I still love about Xojo is that you can prototype very quickly, but I don’t always need the latest version for that. If I need a new version, it is usually due to the new requirements of the operating systems and hardware manufacturers (HiDPI/Retina screens, 64-bit, M1/ARM chips, etc.). Exactly with these points, however, a fast time-to-market is necessary, especially to solve new bugs of such an update.
Xojo recently made what is probably a very important decision, namely to better prioritize bugs and feature requests by encouraging every user not only to open feedback cases but also to rate them based on urgency. But for this, it is necessary that
you have a stable application that is easy to use
you are also reliably informed about the progress (this also includes explaining transparently why supposed problems are not a challenge and not a priority from Xojo’s point of view).
The good thing about Xojo is that a license once purchased for all releases from this period does not expire and can continue to be used. I.e. there is a subscription model for updates, but not for existing versions in the period of a license interval and before. In this respect, everyone can take a break and wait for major changes, or decide in case of “show stoppers” whether an upgrade is required.
However, I personally doubt whether such a license model is useful for a software company, mainly because it will probably not help the popularity of the tool. A solution that other companies offer here for beginners and hobbyists is to offer a previous version for less money. However, this assumes that this version is stable and that there are still security updates, for example.
Personally, I find it unfortunate that there is no long term support (LTS) version. Bugs are normal in the development scene, but it must be ensured that there is a “core” to be defined that only improves with each release and does not regularly generate annoying new problems. Then and only then, price (even for beginners) is most likely (almost) secondary to everyone.
I mentioned the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the title for a good reason. Like any programming language in 2022, Xojo requires plugins to extend functionality, but the Xojo ecosystem usually costs money in the Xojo world. And for new versions of the Xojo “core”, you often need the latest plugin versions at some point (which brings us back to the need for an LTS version). So the TCO is, from an enduser perspective, always (far) more than the pure investment in Xojo for almost every user.
Of course, it is not up to me to criticise a company’s pricing policy and no company on this planet will be interested in my opinion. Personally, I find the new pricing model illogical for my company and a wrong move to increase Xojo’s popularity, which I find very unfortunate.
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